Efforts to stop sales of 'Spice' in Hobbs stall

Posted at: 12/19/2012 6:30 PM
By: Erica Zucco, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Hobbs Police had to return $88,000 worth of "spice" seized from a local smoke shop after a lab test found the brand’s formula didn’t meet a list of banned synthetic cannabinoids.

Noticing that "spice" was becoming a problem in the community, police launched an undercover sting where they visited local smoke shops and asked about buying "spice". One of those shops was “Up in Smoke.”

“While they were in the store they were also guided to paraphernalia and how to use it and what's best,” Hobbs Police Chief Chris McCall said. “So it was quite obvious that the store realized they were not selling this for the purpose they try to advertise it for which is aromatherapy or scent or something like that.”

Police returned with a search warrant, seized the boxes, and sent them to a lab to be tested. The particular makeup of this formula was not on a list of banned products, so they had to give the potpourri back.

“It's very common for these companies that are distributors of this stuff to change one minute chemical molecule within the formula,” McCall said. “Therefore skirting the current outlawed substances.”

The smoke shop’s attorney also sent a letter to Hobbs Police demanding that the product be returned.

“Its very disheartening that these local businesses, knowing what the impact is on our community and on our children, continue to sell these products knowing the health effects,” McCall said. “We're going to continue to try to curb that whether it’s through new legislation, new ordinances locally, to try to slow the tide of spice and eventually hopefully we'll find a solution for it and outlaw it completely.”